Squirrels and Roof Leaks


November 04, 2020

When I first came across the squirrel cap product I was confused and intrigued at the same time.  What is a squirrel cap and how can they prevent roof leaks? As someone who is new to the construction world, the idea that a pipe would be protruding out of your roof is in itself, a strange idea. The vent pipes allow the sewer gases to escape to the outside, rather than being released inside the house and also allows oxygen into the waste pipes.  To prevent water from leaking in around the pipe, roofers use pipe flashing or boots to seal the pipe. Historically, thes flashing or boot has been constructed from lead. This is where our furry friends come into play. 

The Issue

Squirrels love to chew on lead. Once they get a taste for it they can’t stop. There are many theories as to why they love it so much. One theory is that lead has a sweet taste.  Ancient Romans used lead to help sweeten and preserve their fruits, so it is believed that squirrels enjoy the taste. The other popular theory is that it helps them grind down their teeth. Squirrel’s teeth do not stop growing.  If they don’t continually grind them down, they have trouble chewing. There is much debate whether ingesting lead causes squirrel deaths, however there is no debate that this habit can cause headaches for homeowners dealing with roof leaks.

The Solution

Squirrel caps are an easy solution that prevent squirrels access to the lead part of the pipe flashing.  They simply slide on the top of the pipe, but still allow for required ventilation.  It is important, however, to remember that the squirrel caps will not fix an already damaged pipe flashing.  The pipe flashing will need replacement prior to use of a squirrel cap to prevent roof leaks.  Another option that is gaining popularity is replacing lead pipe flashings with thermoplastic pipe flashings to remove lead from the equation.  Take a look at the Bullet Boot for more information on these products.

Squirrel caps provide an easy and inexpensive option to protect the interior of your home from problematic roof leaks.  This small extra step can help both homeowners and our small furry friends.


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